What is the best method for cleaning wool and mohair pullover hats? It’s a bit tricky question with a number of answers, some answers may be good and some not so good. But, the good news is that with this post, you are covered. When it comes to handling and cleaning such durable yet delicate fabrics such as wool and mohair, it is always best to take great care.
Wool is one of the oldest textile fibers used by humans. The term wool is generally used to describe fiber obtained from sheep or lambs. Legally the hair of a few other animals can also be called wool because its qualities are similar to sheep’s wool.
Fiber from animals such as llama, alpaca, camel, vicuña, Angora goat, and Cashmere goat can be labeled as wool, although they can also be labeled by their fiber names.
Woolen caps and hats do not just complement our clothes but, they are used to cover and warm the head. Quality wool caps and hats are not just soft but skin-friendly. Their stretchability allows the cap to fit the head snugly and regain its shape when taken off. Trendy woolen caps are a great fashion statement.
Washing of a woolen cap, however, is not what you can easily classify as simple. Hot water or strong detergents should not be used for woolen garments or caps. No twisting, wringing or drying in the hot sun as well. Woolen materials should be treated softly.
General Method of Handwashing for Woollen Hats.
Fill a bowl with cold water— Don’t ever use hot water as that will ruin the hat.
Add a small amount of mild, non-bleach laundry detergent (about a teaspoon) preferably Woolite.
Spot test the hat by first soaking a small part of it that is unnoticeable for a few minutes before you dunk the entire hat in the cool water. If the colour doesn’t bleed or the fabric doesn’t seem damaged in any way, you are free to continue.
Gently brush away any stains with a soft-bristled brush like a felt hat brush or a toothbrush and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes beforehand washing.
Once that’s done, submerge the entire hat in the bowl. Usually, a 30-minute soak is enough, but you can soak it for a few hours if need be. Just ensure that you check on it at least every hour.
Remove the hat from the soapy water and rinse in cold water to remove any leftover detergent.
Squeeze very gently to remove excess water.
Place the hat on a clean towel and pat it down. Don’t ever wring or twist your hat, as it will ruin the shape.
Air-dry the hat in a clean spot away from direct sunlight.
General Method of Machine Washing a Wool Hat
Using a washing machine to wash woolen materials is not advisable. But if you are willing to take the risk, the following steps can help you out.
Set the washing machine to the gentle cycle. Anything stronger than that could destroy the wool fibers and ruin the hat.
Use cold water — using hot water to wash a wool felt hat might cause the color to run.
Put the hat inside a garment bag before placing in the washer to protect it from the machine’s agitation.
Wash the hat with clothing in a similar color to avoid unwanted dyeing.
Use a mild detergent such as Woolite that is specifically made for delicate fabrics such as silk and wool.
Once the wash cycle is complete, gently soak up any excess water with a clean towel.
Place the hat on a flat surface away from direct sunlight and allow it to air dry.
Dry Cleaning Without Having to go to the Dry Cleaners
Using a soft brush such as an unused soft-bristled toothbrush or a hat brush specially designed for felt hats, start on one side of the hat and work your way around with short, gentle counter-clockwise strokes along the direction of the fabric’s nap to maintain the material’s integrity while removing dust, dirt, and lint.
For any noticeably stained area of the hat, you can carefully dab it and spot clean with a slightly damp cloth or sponge (a makeup sponge can work). Make sure the cloth is not too wet.
To remove oily stains caused by hair products, makeup, lotions and similar products, sprinkle the stained area with cornstarch and leave for at least a couple of hours before brushing away.
Repeat any or all of these steps as necessary.
To finish the process, use a piece of masking tape or a lint roller to remove any lint that might linger after brushing.
How to Clean Different Kinds of Woollen Caps
Let’s check out the methods of washing different kinds of Woollen Caps.
Angora Wool Caps ( Mohair)
Angora wool caps also known as mohair are beautiful, soft, warm, and fluffy. They are comfortable even in extreme weather. They are available in many colors and have a silky touch.
Mohair is the long, silky hair of the Angora goat and is one of the most versatile textile fibers. Its characteristics are similar to sheep’s wool, except that it does not have the scales that can irritate the skin. Mohair has several unique properties that are not found in other animal fiber such as:
- Insulating capacity – mohair fibers do not conduct heat like wool, mohair provides good insulation, even when wet.
- Durability – mohair can be twisted and bent without damage to the fiber; it is the most durable animal fiber.
- Comfort – the smooth fibers of mohair do not irritate the skin, even for people who are sensitive to wool.
- Strength – mohair is very strong. It is even stronger than steel of the same diameter.
- Shrink resistance – because its smooth fibers do not felt, mohair fabrics shrink much less than wool.
- Elasticity – mohair is very elastic; it can be stretched up to 30%, and will spring back to shape; mohair garments resist wrinkling, stretching, or sagging.
- Moisture transfer – mohair easily absorbs and releases moisture, moving perspiration away from the skin; it is comfortable to wear in cold and hot weather.
- Lustre – one of the mohair’s most important qualities is its ability to take dye and to display brilliant colors that resist fading by time or hard wear.
- Lightweight – mohair’s smooth fibers can be made into fabrics that have a cooling effect; it is ideal for summer garments.
- Non-flammability – mohair will not burn unless it is exposed to a direct flame.
Mohair is a natural, luxurious fiber that dries well and resists shrinking. Unlike sheep’s wool, mohair doesn’t have scales. A vigorous shake will dislodge most of its dirt particles.
1. Hand wash the mohair cap in cold or lukewarm water with mild shampoo or soap. Turn the cap wrong side out and soak for about 20 minutes. . Rinse in cool water to remove all soap. Do not tumble dry. Do not twist or wring the cap.
2. Roll the cap in a towel to remove excess water. Place the cap flat on a towel to dry at room temperature. Keep away from sunlight.
1. Generally, a machine wash is not recommended for mohair caps. But if a manufacturer does recommend a machine wash, it must be in delicate mode, using cold water and a mild detergent.
2. Roll the cap in a towel to absorb water and laid flat on another towel to air dry, away from direct sunlight.
Cashmere Wool Caps
Cashmere wool caps have a fine pattern and a nice feel and are stylish and comfortable. The material is gotten from the cashmere goat. The material is elegant, and yet casual. This classic cap is as smooth as can be. The fiber doesn’t just have a fine texture but is very durable as well.
1. Hand washing is best for Cashmere wool caps. Use lukewarm water and a mild soap or shampoo. Put the cap in and swish in suds gently. Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water. As usual, just rule out any wringing or twisting of the cap.
2. Squeeze out the excess water gently. Spread the cap on a towel and bring it to its original shape. Roll the towel up and apply pressure on the towel to absorb water. Lay the cap flat on another towel to air dry.
1. Although Cashmere wool caps should only be given a hand wash, a machine wash is possible if recommended by the manufacturer. Put the cap in a bag. Select the woolens/ delicate cycle. Use cold water and a little bit of shampoo.
2. Spread the cap on a flat drying rack or a clean towel in its natural shape. Avoid direct sunlight and heat during air drying. Never hang wool.
Tips to Keeping a Clean Wool Hat
To help prevent sweat stains on the brim or crown of your woollen hat, place paper towels or napkins inside the sweatband. Change them out from time to time, after heavy use when perspiration is high.
Most sweatbands are made of leather. If the band becomes rigid, clean with a small amount of saddle soap. Then use a leather conditioner to keep it supple. Ensure that the conditioner doesn’t touch the felt, which will surprisingly leave a stain.
If sweating is a regular occurrence when wearing your hat, it is a good idea to turn the hatband outward and allow the hat to dry completely after each use. If stains form on the felt, dip a white cloth into an equal mix of distilled white vinegar and lukewarm water and gently dab or rub in the direction of the nap. Then allow it to air dry.
How to Store Your Wool Hat Once It’s Clean
When you are not wearing your hat, the best way to store it is in a hatbox or on a clean surface in a cool, dry area with the crown down and stuffed with tissue. If a hat rack is your only option, choose one with a wide, flat hook shape that will not compromise the shape of the hat’s crown.
When storage space is an issue, you can stack hats with similarly-shaped crowns as long as they are not squished in any way.
Now, you can use those nice, warm, and comfy woolen hats without having to fret about cleaning it whenever it gets dirty.